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Boeing marks 737 Max anniversary with 130-strong fleet

Boeing has passed the one-year anniversary of the 737 Max with a staggeringly large in-service fleet that has fulfilled promises of improved fuel efficiency while battling normal teething problems.

Boeing delivered 130 aircraft representing two versions of the 737 Max in the 12 months since first delivery to Lion Air’s Malaysia-based subsidiary last May, the company says in an online blog post.

The deliveries might have been even higher, but engine supplier CFM International fell several weeks behind on a planned ramp-up of Leap-1B engine production. CFM plans to catch up on deliveries in the third quarter.

The 130 deliveries of the 737 Max within a year is almost double the number of A320neo family aircraft that Airbus handed over to customers over its first year in operation. Airbus also faced supplier production shortfalls, involving cabin interiors and the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engine.

So far, the 28 737 Max operators have logged 118,006h on 41,797 flights that carried 6.5 million passengers, according to Boeing.

The 737 Max family enters the market facing a high bar for reliability, as the highly mature 737NG series operates with a mission dispatch rate over 99.7%.

“You’re bound to have some teething issues in the beginning,” wrote Boeing vice-president of marketing Randy Tinseth in his blog, without elaborating.

The fleet now stands at a mission dispatch rate of 99.4% and should improve to the 99.7% standard by the end of the year.

Boeing has sold 4,509 firm orders for the 737 Max family, including sales of 416 737 Max 10. Boeing does not break down the firm orders for the other three major variants of the 737 Max family, but the 737-8 version is by far the most popular.

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